Praise bygone

coopers and cartwrights
bird boys waving off crows
tanners and chandlers
reeders and pointers
Myrene and Willa coaxing trellised beans
Beulah fogging bees
Boaz caning under barn shade
Aloysius cording red oak
$90 a rick
$160 a face
no sale Sundays
say hallelujah and
chalk your name
on the portico slate






Praise Chevrolets
and those who creep
under them
weekend welders
Corvairs and El Caminos
a mine field of clutch plates warping rotors
running house to road
Chevelles humped on axle stands
Bel Airs and Biscaynes
Kingswood Estates secreted
in legacy barns
Bondo curing
Bondo curing






Praise hardscrabble

jacked on cinder blocks
and railroad ties
in A-frame lean-tos
in spent Airstreams
and spotwelded singlewides
rusting in creviced fields
easement lots
Luke nodding in the smokehouse
Mamie potting in the shed


Jeff Schiff is the author of That hum to go by (Mammoth books) Mixed Diction (Mammoth books), Burro Heart (Mammoth books), The Rats of Patzcuaro, The Homily of Infinitude, and Anywhere in this Country. Hundreds of his pieces have appeared in more than a hundred and fifty publications worldwide, including The Alembic, Bellingham Review, Cincinnati Review, Grand Street, Ohio Review, Poet & Critic, Tulane Review, Tampa Review, Louisville Review, Tendril, Pembroke Magazine, Carolina Review, Chicago Review, Hawaii Review, Southern Humanities Review, River City, Indiana Review, Willow Springs, and Southwest Review. He is currently serving as the interim dean of the school of graduate studies at Columbia College Chicago, where he has been on faculty since 1987.